Mitchell’s been in love with Craig since the day they met, but he’s held that secret close to the vest. When Craig announces they need to have one more adventure -- a road trip through Missouri -- Mitchell isn’t sure it’s the best idea. As usual, his friend convinces him, telling him they’ll hit all the touristy spots and say goodbye to their home state.
As they spend the days and nights together, along with some heated stares, Mitchell begins to hope. He’s buried his feelings for years, but now they’re bubbling up to the surface and he can’t fight them anymore. He begins to see a possible future with Craig, if only his best friend would show his true feelings.
The sound of a horn jolted Mitch from a sound sleep, and he blinked his eyes for a moment, staring out the window at the busy highway.
"Sorry. Some idiot guy almost hit us. I had to lay on the horn," Craig explained.
Mitch straightened himself in his seat and rubbed his eyes. "No worries. Sorry I fell asleep."
Craig grinned at him. "You should be. I've had to listen to your snoring for almost two hours."
"Hey, I don't snore. You do, but I don't," Mitch said emphatically.
Craig snorted. "Whatever. I can hear you through the wall at night."
"I don't snore," Mitch reiterated, and frowned when Craig chuckled. Then he started feeling bad about sleeping so long. "Want me to take a turn at the wheel?"
"Nah. Maybe when we stop for lunch? Although, we'll probably be in Hannibal before then. We've only got about an hour and forty-five minutes left, give or take."
Mitch nodded and checked his phone, but he couldn't help watching his best friend out of the corner of his eye. Even after knowing him for four years, Mitch was still blown away by the reaction he felt whenever he looked at Craig. He'd certainly never forgotten the first day they met. It was imprinted on his brain forever.
That first day at Longview Community College had been brutal. He'd had to spend two hours in the admissions office because when he'd shown up for his first class, the professor didn't have him listed. By the time his schedule was corrected, he'd missed two classes and was nearly late to his third.
He'd slid into an empty seat near the door just as the teacher turned around from the whiteboard. Someone next to him giggled and he glanced over to see the cutest boy he'd ever laid eyes on. Mitch had felt dumbstruck as his cheeks heated in reaction.
"Close call," the kid had whispered with a nod toward the teacher. "I heard she doesn't put up with latecomers."
Mitch pulled himself together and smiled.
It wasn't until class was over that they were able to talk.
"I'm Mitchell Moon," he'd offered, as the guy rose from his desk. "Everyone calls me Mitch, though."
Craig had beamed at him, his blue eyes sparkling a little as he leaned down until their faces were only inches apart. "Hi, Mitchell," he said with a wink. "My name's Craig Pruitt."
And that was that -- they became instant friends, bonding over video games, movies, and their love of Star Trek. It was the kind of friendship only found once in a lifetime. Mitch had come out to Craig within the first week of meeting him and his friend hadn't even blinked.
There was only one problem with their friendship -- Mitch had never been able to shake the attraction he felt for Craig. And over the years, as they earned their associate's degrees from Longview and moved on to UMKC, their bond grew and his feelings for Craig only strengthened.
When Craig had confided in him that he thought he was bisexual their sophomore year, Mitch's hopes had been raised, but by that time he was firmly planted in the friend zone. So he did what a best friend should-he supported Craig as he came to terms with things and accepted who he was. He'd admitted that he'd had a crush on a guy in high school, but it ran its course and he never acted on it. As far as Mitch knew, Craig had only dated two guys since then, nothing panning out toward a full-time relationship, though. But he'd had his share of casual hookups with men. Craig had gone a little wild when he'd first come out as bisexual, but had calmed down over the years. In fact, Mitch couldn't remember him even going on a date during their senior year.
He'd seen the types of men Craig seemed to be attracted to, and they were nothing like Mitch, so he'd tucked his feelings away again and told himself not to go there anymore. It was an ongoing internal battle, but most of the time, he had a handle on it.
This last year of college, they'd found a cheap two-bedroom apartment near campus and moved in that summer. Sharing a small space with the man of his dreams had been hard. Especially when Craig often walked around their place wearing only a pair of boxers.
Mitch was honest enough to admit he'd fantasized about Craig too many times to count and would probably continue to do so long after he'd moved. Maybe that's how it always was with a first love or major crush.
In his heart, he knew being apart would be good for them. Well, at least it would be for Mitch. Maybe he could finally go out with someone without constantly comparing him to Craig. But in the meantime, he continued to fight the attraction. The desire. The love. Because that's what it had turned into. Love. Over the years, the longing, the emotional connection he felt with Craig, it had all turned to love. He wasn't even sure when it had happened, but there was no denying Mitch was in love with his best friend.
And just when he was close to being free, there they were. One last hurrah before moving out of state. One last adventure with Craig.